Mercury Music Awards 2017

  Mercury Prize 2017

Mercury Prize 2017

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 Hyundai Mercury Prize Awards. Standout performers included, Loyle Carner, the up and coming rapper who has continued to make waves this past year. Performing his track 'The Isle of Arran' alongside a choir, Loyle set the  night's vibes, and although he was not the first performer, his performance continued to build that energy set by The XX, who opened the showcase.

Following on from Loyle, was another Grime artist: J Hus, who performed a mash up of his tracks, 'Friendly' and 'Did You know', from his debut album Common Sense, which was released earlier this year. 

Whilst many of the artists gave heavy performances of their hit tracks, female artist, Kate Tempest, took to the stage with a quite different performance. Dominating the stage with her track: 'Don’t Fall Tempest', Tempest shone in an intense spoken word performance. Tempest's words were bundles of passion, and the atmosphere she created was extremely powerful.

One of my stand-outs (I've a slight bias...) was Grime rapper, Stormzy. Re-enacting his album cover from Gang Signs and Prayer, Stormzy went on to give a high-energy performance of 'First Thing First', as well as 'Blinded By Your Grace'. There's no doubt that was this the performance the crowd was waiting for.

Just before the moment of honour was upon us, the crowd was graced with a returned performance from Skepta,  who took home the 2016 Mercury Prize award for his album Konnichiwa. Skepta performed his track, 'Man',  and the crowd went crazy. As a genre, Grime has certainly seen a rise in the past year, with nominees Stormzy, JHus and Loyle Carner killing the game. But Skepta’s win last year was a definite game changer, so to come back and see Grime once again own the stage, was really something.

Actor Idris Elba made an appearance at the show, and held the honour of announcing the years winner. Elba gave shout out's and raucous appreciation for 2017's British Music, including the artist and albums nominated for this year’s awards. I definitely agree with Elba; this year saw a range of different musical genres up for the award, and showcased the extensive range of sounds and flavours that British music has had to offer.

As the grand moment arrived, there was nothing short of nerves floating in the room. As Elba took the stage, it was announced that the winning album was, “one of the 5 artists from South London”. Followed by, “the winning album [is a] debut album”, which immediately set off bells for me; with Stormzy’s name ringing in my mind. However, after a dramatic pause, it was announced that the winner was Sampha, who took home the prize from his debut album Process,released earlier this year.

This year’s Mercury Awards were certainly an experience that I was thrilled be a part of. With the quality and level of British Talent, I can’t wait to see what next year has in offer.

Seneo Mwamba